The People's Music Collective

Creative and collaborative music making for adults facing mental health challenges.

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The People’s Music Collective is a project which celebrates the creativity, resilience and voice of people who have a mental health diagnosis.

We use collaborative music-making to strengthen mental health recovery and reduce social isolation during challenging times. Our community members work together to build trust, playfulness and creativity, leading to the creation of brand new music. Exploring improvisation is at the root of what we do and enables us to welcome anyone to join the band from experienced musicians to those discovering music-making for the first time.

Every project is co-produced with mental health practitioners as well as the community members who form the band, ensuring that we work as one collective voice. All members are offered training in music facilitation skills and if they wish, take it in turns to lead the group through musical creation processes.

Through recordings and public performances, we tackle the stigma of mental ill health and celebrate the diversity, strength and creativity of our community.

The People’s Music Collective has grown out of an artistic research partnership between Soundcastle and movement facilitator, Simon Magnus. Since 2017, and with the support of Arts Council England, Awards for All and Worthing Community Chest, we have been researching how music-making and movement can be combined to promote wellbeing, resilience and confidence building in mental health settings.  This fruitful exploration of cross-arts facilitation has led to Soundcastle incorporating far more movement into our music making, exploring playfulness, making mistakes and being silly as an essential part of creativity. Essentially, exploring playful improvisation is at the root of all we do and enables us to be wholly inclusive of all community members, regardless of their previous musical experience. In addition to this, we partnered with Brighton University to research the co-production of creative courses between artist facilitators and mental health practitioners, developing a shared language and working practice that promotes wellbeing and productivity in all team members.

During the 2017-18 pilot Sound and Movement project with Sussex Recovery College, 83% of community members recorded a decrease in their loneliness levels and 83% recorded an increase in their ability to trust others. 100% of the Advanced course went into training, employment or volunteering immediately after completing the course. 

If you would like to bring a People’s Music Collective or Sound and Movement project to your community, contact hannah@soundcastle.co.uk.

Soundcastle run artist practitioner training days which explore resilience, coping mechanisms and the need for professional wellbeing when working in the challenging and emotive context of mental health. To receive news of upcoming training days, sign up to our mailing list here.

To book a training day for your organization, contact hannah@soundcastle.co.uk.